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The Lairds of Glenlyon:  Historical Sketches
Chapter 25


AT Kelso, Brigadier M'Intosh was superseded by Lord Kenmure as Commander-in-Chief, of the expeditionary force, now recruited by the junction of the Border and Northumberland Jacobites. The Highlanders took the change of commanders, and the comparative insignificance into which they themselves had fallen in the presence of the southern horse, and the proud and high-bred cavaliers of England, whose haughty overbearing conduct was on the occasion but ill-supported by the number of followers they brought to support the common cause, in high dudgeon ; and it needed but a spark of contention among the leaders to light up a general conflagration. That was soon supplied. Being informed that General Carpenter, at the head of a royal force, was on the march to surprise them at Kelso, Kenmure called a council of war to consider and determine as to the course proper to be pursued. The Earl of Winton and Brigadier M'Intosh, supported by Menzies of Culdares, Stewart of Kynachin—in fact, by all the Perthshire chieftains—proposed, as there were no hopes of a rising in England, and as, in the absence of such hopes it would be madness, with a handful of men, to cross the borders, to march back by the western coasts, attacking Dumfries and Glasgow on the way, and, joining the Jacobites in these parts, cross the Forth above Stirling,*or*else send the Earl of Mar word that they would fall upon the Duke of Argyle's rear while he fell on the front. It was lucky for the establishment of peace in Scotland that the plan was thwarted. The battle of Dunblane could scarcely have been what it was with M'Intosh's Highlanders pressing on Argyle's rear; and the Duke's army defeated, the Stuart cause might gain an ascendancy in Scotland dangerous to the existence of Great Britain as a united kingdom. The spirit of the border mosstrooper survived in the southern horse ; they shouted for a march or raid into England. The English rebels strenuously supported the same counsel, and showed, that, by crossing the Tweed, Carpenter and his forces could be easily surprised, and the English Jacobites would flock to them in thousands. The council finally determined upon marching into England; but the opposition of the Highland gentlemen was only overborne for a time, to break out anew under a more dangerous aspect. On the 29th October, they marched to Hawick ; and the Highlanders, understanding from their leaders that they were being led into England against their will and advice, broke out into open mutiny. They separated themselves from the rest, took up a station on Hawick Moor, piled their arms, and declared they would fight the enemy in their own country, but would not leave their wives and children defenceless to go for other people's purposes into England. Upon this dispute, the horse surrounded the foot in order to force them to march south, whereupon the Highlanders cocked their firelocks and said, "If they were to be made a sacrifice, they would choose to have it done in their own country." "'Tis agreed (says the historian Rae) that while in this humour they would allow none to come to speak to them but the Earl of Winton who had tutored them in this project, assuring them, as indeed it has proven in part, that if they went to England they would be all cut in pieces or taken and sold for slaves." It was at last agreed they would keep together as long as they stayed in Scotland; but upon any motion of going for England they (the Highlanders) would return back. Upon this understanding they continued their march to Hawick.

At Hawick, means were found to persuade more than one half of the Highlanders to march into England, but the rest would neither bend to persuasion nor force, and returned home to their mountain fastnesses, in disgust at the incapacity of titled leaders, and the supineness of the fat English. Many of them were taken prisoners by the way; but those who escaped spread such unfavourable accounts of matters in the south, as greatly weakened the hands of the Pretender's friends, and accelerated the abandonment of their designs.

The rebels crossed the borders upon the 1st November, and arrived the same day at Brampton, where Mr. Forster opened his commission, by which he was appointed to act as their general in England. On the 2nd they marched to Penrith. Here they met (or rather they did not meet, for they dispersed in consternation before the dreaded Highlanders came in sight) the posse-comitalus of Cumberland. The wonderful magic of a name was never better illustrated : 12,000 stalwart English yeomen would not face as many hundreds of the gaunt, grim warriors of the north. The route was pursued without much molestation, by easy marches, to Preston, whence Stanhope's regiment of dragoons and another of militia retired without striking a blow. This was the limit of success. Regular forces, preposterously out of proportion with the handful against which they were marching, gradually enclosed the rebels in a network of steel. General Willis, with six regiments of foot, attacked the town in two places on the 12th November, and was repulsed by the rebels with consider- -able loss. General Carpenter arrived next morning with three other regiments of horse. The town, not very tenable by a larger force, was completely invested. The Highlanders had no artillery; and abhorring to be as they said, worried like foxes in a "garraidk" they resolutely proposed to cut their way through the royal host, or perish in the attempt. Forster, however, offered to surrender at discretion; and the Highlanders, deserted by their English allies, were, after much difficulty, over-ruled, and the whole gave up their arms and were imprisoned—the common men at Chester and Liverpool, and the leaders and chiefs sent to London, and conveyed through the streets to the Tower and Newgate, with their arms pinioned as malefactors.

The Highlanders went to England at the pressing solicitations of English Jacobites. They had been promised at Hawick, that, as soon as they crossed the border, 20,000 men would flock to their banner. How was the promise fulfilled? They traversed the counties of Cumberland and Westmoreland without obtaining a single recruit. A few common people joined them in Lancashire, but not a man of family and influence. The Earl of Derwentwater was not imitated by his compeers. Look at the Stuart papers; how much was expected from England? how little from Scotland? It is plain the rebellion of 1715 had been planned in England, and its infancy fostered by an ultra English Cabinet. The raising of the Braemar standard, and simultaneous gathering of a mighty host, were Scotland's response to the bold plots of Bolingbroke and the timid wiles of Harley. True, when the Highlanders crossed the border, Oxford was in disgrace and Bolingbroke in exile» but where were the southern Jacobites—the strong faction that had ruled England for the previous four years? Where the phalanx of Lords and Commons, who, from the 8th-August, 1710, when Godolphin and the Whigs were dismissed, to the 1st August, 1714, when Argyle burst upon the dismayed and irresolute Council of incipient traitors to crush treason in the bud, had been paving, as it were, in their shirt sleeves, the road of restoration for the Stuarts? Where the learned doctors who taught passive obedience and non-resistance, and proved the hereditary indefeasible right of the Chevalier de St. George as easily and satisfactorily as the first problem in Euclid?

It is an ascertained fact that England of modern days shows, on entering upon momentous affairs, more of the spirit of Athelstane the Unready than of the fiery race of Normandy. The aristocracy were generally high-prerogative and high-church at heart; but their heavy pledges to fortune prevented them from joining in a rebellion, the success of which was not beyond the caprice of chance. They could not, in a civil war, bring the same material support, at a moment's warning, to the side they espoused, as the poorest peer in Scotland—the beggarly Lovat, for instance—because in England there was a sharp distinction of classes, and the clannish spirit which bound high and low in common sympathies had never been known. The sensible middle classes in England, in this very quarrel, supported with uniform heartiness the cause of civil liberty and of the Protestant succession; while the lowest classes cared not a straw who gained or lost, provided they saved their "own bacon."

Lord Bolingbroke's plans were astutely laid, but seemingly the extent of his wisdom led him astray. For the ultimate safety of British liberty, kind Providence ordained he should have been a diligent and discriminating student of history. He knew the nature of his countrymen too well to expect a restoration, except through the bloodless and constitutional way of parliamentary sanction. He was taught by the history of the preceding century, that the continuity of the absolute monarchy to be founded on such a restoration could be guaranteed only on the condition of melting down and recasting the national character. He prepared with singular audacity to bring both results about; the first, by constituting the high-prerogative party the ruling mind of the country, through a strict Tory Parliament, which had been suddenly changed from a triennial to a septennial lease of existence; the second, by shutting the door of public office and employment, through the revival of the Sacramental Test, upon the friends of liberty and true representatives of Covenanters and Puritans, and by a series of measures, either passed or proposed to be passed, by which the governing body should exclusively belong to the Church of England, and by which that Church should henceforward and for ever become the slave of a Popish monarch, or his sceptic satrap. Scotland, too, entered into his comprehensive schemes of universal subjugation. The Scottish nobles, with a few exceptions, hated the blue banner of the Covenant like the "gates of hell." But when Presbyterianism triumphed in spite of them, they found it expedient to court the object of hatred and recent persecutions; the sons and grandsons of persecutors sat in the Assembly of 1710; but soon titled names diminished and gradually disappeared, till in a very short period only a few empty ones (empty names, for the owners seldom attended), as at present, remained .to grace the roll of membership. Why was this? Well, that last very patriotic ministry of Queen Anne, by two cleverly devised measures, released the gentry from unpleasant Presbyterian parity, and gave them the power, as of yore, to "lord it over God's heritage." The Act of Toleration, passed in 1711, extended valuable privileges, and afforded a legal footing to the semi-popish Episcopal Church, which, as a more exclusive and aristocratic religious community, and as the champion of those ideas palatable to feudal pride and Jacobitical leaning, gathered at once into its folds the Toryism of Scotland. It was not in any way an act of homage to the rights of conscience—(conscience and Scottish Episcopacy could scarcely be spoken of in the same breath; as it was a pariah of the State from the beginning)— the infidel secretary had no such word in his vocabulary, but a home-thrust at the political influence of the Church of Scotland. This blow was immediately followed by another still more fatal. "The next step taken by this Tory Parliament, against the Established Church of Scotland, was, to restore Patronage, thus depriving the people of their just power of choosing and calling their own ministers, and lodging that power in the hands of the Patrons of the several parishes, with a view to fill up the vacancies with such as might afterwards serve their designs in case of a new revolution; to give them an opportunity to keep the livings in their own hands; or to employ them for the support of Jacobite Conventicles; which 'tis known they actually did in many parts of the nation; and to irritate the people against the Church for yielding to that which they cou'd not help, and wou'd fain had stopped."

Such were the cool, far-seeing projects by which the rehabilitation of hereditary right was to be made conditional upon casting the future mind of Britain in a Helot mould, and upon drugging the springs of religion with the specifics of state policy, to make it subserve the minister or monarch of the day. Everything was in train for a legislative restoration; but lo ! Anne dies, and the splendid conspiracy bursts like a soap bubble ; and the daring plotter sees the projects rife with plagues for his country fail to bring about his primary object, quarrels with the prince on whose behoof he sold himself to evil, returns again to live under the safeguard of the constitution he half-subverted, and, after a life of vicissitudes, unfortunate for himself, and detrimental to his country, dies well deserving, by his infidel works, published by Mallet after his death, the un-forgotten censure of Johnston—"He was a villain and a coward, sir; a villain, for charging a blunderbuss against morality and religion; and a coward, for not daring to fire it off, but leaving a shilling to a beggarly Scotchman to do it after his death."

But let us turn to the encaged dupes of the English conspirators. The word was, "Behead and quarter; hang and slay." Menzies of Culdares, against whom a billa vera had been found, after a pretty long imprisonment, was pardoned on account of his youth, being under 21. The other officers and chiefs were not so fortunate, several of them being put to death. The common men got seven years' penal servitude in the colonies. The Glenlyon men were mostly sent to Maryland, from which few ever returned. There is an authentic story told of one of them which is worth recounting.

John M'Intyre, Moar, Glenlyon, was betrothed to a young woman before he joined the rebels. Being taken at Preston, he was sentenced to seven years' transportation with his companions. When made aware of his fate, he managed to send word to his betrothed, that he would return, if alive, when his term expired ; but that if he did not come home at the end of the eighth year, she might conclude he was dead. The Maryland planter whose bondsman he became was a hard taskmaster; he stated afterwards, that he received more kindness from a negro slave who was his fellow-workman than from any person of his own country and colour in America. When his time was nearly out, while he and this negro were working in the wood, one of the planter's horses was killed by the falling of a tree. M'Intyre was adjudged to an additional year's servitude. Meantime his betrothed counted the days, and awaited their expiry with some apprehension, as, after much solicitation, she had been obliged to promise her friends, who did not approve of her fidelity, to accept of another suitor for her hand if M'Intyre appeared not at the time he had set himself. The eighth year passed over her, and no word of the exile. She still delayed, and put off, till the family council would bear it no longer; and so, well on in the ninth year after the rebellion she yielded obedience, and the night of "ceanghall" with the new suitor was appointed. No one more strongly advised her to obey her friends than M'Intyre's widowed mother, who considered her son dead by this time, or despaired, if alive, of ever seeing him again. The widow, however, did not appear at the "betrothal," as she promised; and the reluctant bride, glad of the opportunity of escaping for a while, insisted upon going to see what hindered her. The old woman told her a beggar had asked for hospitality, and she was obliged to keep at home to entertain him. It was immediately proposed by the bride to invite the beggar and his entertainer both to the "ceanghall" feast. With this purpose, going into the hut to address him, she discovered to her great delight her old betrothed in the stranger, who had struggled home to claim his bride; but finding her on the point of marrying another, hesitated to reveal who he was, till thus accidentally unmasked by the eye of affection. It was not yet too late. The new suitor was discarded, and the old one installed in his place; and long and happily lived together the faithful couple that made "love the lord of all."


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